Describe a Time When You Helped to Reduce Costs at a Previous Accountant Job


Accountant is struggling with a lot of paper work. Papers are flying all around her. But she is is still smiling.

“Cost Accounting” forms a separate job field in some countries. Companies employ people who collect, analyze, summarize and evaluate various alternative courses of action the managers can take, in order to minimize the expenses and maximize the savings. However, each good accountant should give some advice about cost reduction, without suggesting a change to the production or distribution processes.

Note: This particular question appears mostly in interviews for intermediate and senior accounting roles. If you apply for an entry level job, you can skip this one.

The most common way of cost reduction consists in managing the purchases in time, trying to benefit from various methods of depreciation in relation to the profit or loss of the current and past fiscal years. Obviously there are more advance methods of cost reduction, and we elaborate on them in our interview guide.

Sample answer

Man working on some cost effective accounting at his computer. He looks absorbed in his job.

I used operation analysis in my last job. I had an access to the budgets and could see how the company spent money. I uncovered several transactions that were not tax deductible, but could be replaced with transactions that were equal and tax deductible at the same time. I presented the idea in a managerial meeting, they agreed, and we managed to reduce tax expenses by four percent. I consider it a great achievement.

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